What do you do if your lawyer up and dies on you?

My spouse is the plaintiff in a long running civil matter and her lawyer has come down with something serious and may die on her. Should she ask me, and I’m not sure she will, what should I advise? She doesn’t have a really good case to start with so other lawyers are probably not standing around in the hospital hallways waiting to take up where their late, probably not lamented, peer has left off.

Seek out new counsel right away and get the case transferred to new counsel’s office.

Or, in the event of actual death:

Make sure he lies still.

Bury him 8 feet deep, not 6, because deep down he’s really good.

Many professionals have peers that are ready to step in and handle their business in emergencies. This lawyer may have a “go-to” person that is in a position to take the file and deal with it. I would advise first calling the law office to inquire about that prospect. The new lawyer may or may not be sympathetic to the facts of the case.

It depends on the court. Around here, the court will give an extension of time to find new counsel. She may want to discuss this with the lawyer’s office. Is there an attorney who has been second chairing the case?

Check the lawyers firm, if they have someone else who can be assigned to your spouse or failing they are in many jurisdictions ethically obliged or statutorily mandated to assist you in engaging and instructing new Counsel in the process of winding up his practice, or if its a single practitioner, the local Bar.

Its not just getting a new Lawyer, he would have a whole file, with documents, pleading, memo, case notes and legal research which he would have done regarding your spouses case which the new Counsel will definatly need and or find useful.